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A cup of coffee with every IVF cycle could reduce the chances of a life-threatening complication of fertility treatment, according to researchers.
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) affects between 5 and 10% of women who undergo IVF.
A study by scientists from Middlesex University and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry found the chemical adenosine could be behind the condition.
They found high levels of the chemical when they examined fluid around the human egg.
They believe OHSS is caused when IVF drug stimulation creates high levels of adenosine, causing the blood vessels to dilate and blood fluid to leak into tissue.
And they concluded that caffeine could provide a solution as is acts as a block to the chemical.
In vitro fertilisation has resulted in the birth of many babies since the first “test tube” baby in 1978.
Most cases of OHSS are mild with symptoms such as abdominal bloating, sickness and weight gain but some patients can develop chest pain, kidney damage and blood clotting disorders.
The authors of the study, published in Metabolism Journal, wrote: “Although adenosine has been detected in follicular fluid before, we were surprised at the extremely high levels detected in this study.”
They described the chemical as a “significant contender as the molecular cause of OHSS”.
Ray Iles, professor of biomedical science at Middlesex University, said: “It may be that a cup of strong coffee with every IVF cycle could reduce the chances of OHSS.
Copyright Press Association 2010